NYC Broker Confidence Hits Pandemic High, REBNY Finds

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Confidence among New York City residential and commercial real estate brokers has hit its highest level since the pandemic began, as residents return to the city and are increasingly vaccinated, according to the Real Estate Board of New York’s quarterly survey. 

Brokers were feeling 56 percent more confident in New York’s real estate market in the first quarter of this year than they were during the fourth quarter of 2020, the organization’s broker confidence index shows. Overall, broker confidence reached a 6.6 out of 10, which was a 79 percent increase year over year and the highest it had been since the fourth quarter of 2019. 

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Residential brokers appear to be particularly optimistic as new Manhattan apartment leases surged 89 percent year over year, to 4,986 in March, according to Douglas Elliman’s most recent market report. The residential broker confidence index stood at 7.66, which was the highest level since the beginning of 2016 and a 32 percent increase compared to last quarter. Meanwhile, future broker confidence stands at 8.15, a 61 percent increase compared to a year ago. 

Commercial brokers are feeling similarly positive, with overall confidence at 5.65 — a 96 percent increase over the previous quarter — and future confidence for the next six months at 7.27. CBRE’s most recent quarterly market report found that office tenants signed 2.9 million square feet of leases in the first quarter of 2021, the most office space leased since the pandemic began. 

Broker confidence increased for the second quarter in a row and blew past the record lows of last April as the pandemic brought leasing to a grinding halt.

“This surge in broker confidence is happening alongside encouraging signs in our city, the overall economy, and particularly the real estate market, where commercial and residential market activity is exhibiting clear signs of momentum,” REBNY President James Whelan said in a statement. “It is critical to seize this moment so that New York comes back stronger than ever.”